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[Freeciv-Dev] Re: non-smallpox idea

[Freeciv-Dev] Re: non-smallpox idea

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To: Reinier Post <rp@xxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: Freeciv developers <freeciv-dev@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [Freeciv-Dev] Re: non-smallpox idea
From: Jacky Mallett <warlock@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2001 19:10:13 -0500 (EST)

> I don't want to know any of this when playing Freeciv.
> Actually, I am a veteran player, and I didn't know.

I think this is the key point - i ended up digging around in the
code the first time i noticed one of my cities was producing 0 science.
It doesn't help that trade is fairly visible - being a tile attribute,
and science is a modified derivative, buried in the general city stats.

My opinion is that whatever solution we come up with should be easy
to understand, and its consquences easy to predict. I fear i'm with the
game playability camp, rather than any attempts at 'realism'. Nor am
i in the small-pox is evil camp either, quite the contrary - but i do
think the game would be enhanced if there were several overall winning
strategies, rather than just one or two as at present.

My suspicion is most players don't understand the corruption impacts
at all for any other government than despotism, and up until recently
at least, it was just one of those general mysteries how certain
players got republic so much faster than others.

If you want to hide this under a fig leaf of realism, then i'd suggest
some vague statement about how the more cities there are under despotic
government, the harder it is to control them. This would fit in with
the level of other explanations in the documentation.

In terms of actual impact on the game, i don't personally think the
present time to republic is unreasonable, but the level of variation
due solely to lucky initial conditions is. If  you do understand despotic
science then for smallpoxers at least, this is typically in the range
2700bc to 2000bc with the former requiring a lot of luck in your initial
position. A 2500bc republic is quite frequently achievable though,
which gives a 10 round variation, before the random change
factor gets thrown in. In and of itself, this is enough to decide games
between two well-matched players; whatever strategy they're playing.

Fixing science to the number of cities, and allowing only the capital
to have full science, would bring this variation down a lot. It also has
the advantage of being a fairly small change, which makes the impact
on game balance easier to predict than some of the more ambitious schemes
i've seen touted.

> Well what i like about it is the word "proportional", but what I don't
> like is the introduction of a new factor.  I'm sure it would already
> help to make the existing factors, such as distance, more proportional,
> as that is where the problem seems to be.

I'd agree with you about the introduction of a new factor, if i thought
that all that many players really understood what was going on with
corruption in any case. In game play, people will sometimes micromanage
trade for a little while in republic if they want to get one of the
critical early advances, but by the time you get up to steam engine
individual city differences tend to get averaged out enough that the
difference isn't useful.

I can't think of any other solution that is this simple, and that evens
things up between the two. Even this isn't completely satisfactory, as
largepox players will take a hit in the longer time it takes to get their
settlers into position. On the other hand, i don't see that it's necessary
that both strategies have identical development curves, just that at key
points of the game they are in roughly the same region.


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